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Primer

What is a Jury System? It is a judicial process where a group of lay persons or ordinary people were called by law to decide legal cases brought to trial. It is the people’s empowerment in the administration of justice. What are Jurors? Ordinary people conscripted to participate in deciding specific case are called Jurors. They were selected randomly thru the electoral registrar. Composition of a Jury In cases of serious crimes, the jury is normally composed of 12 individuals. Other crimes maybe composed of less than 12 Jurors depending on the requirements of the state or government. What is a Jury Service? A Jury service is a duty to the country. A soldier is conscripted by law to defend his country while a Juror is called to defend and uphold what is right and just.

What countries have jury systems? The United States of America (USA), England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hongkong, Japan and at least 46 democratic countries and dependencies around the globe adapt jury systems. Russia, a communist country, has re-adapted its jury system. (The Philippines, the first democratic country in Southeast Asia has no Jury System) Historical Arguments 1. The Philippines had its first Constitution in 1935. It was based or copied from the American Constitution. The American Constitution, Article 3, Section 2 Paragraph 3 prescribed a Trial by Jury in all cases except Impeachment. Our 1935 Constitution missed this provision. 2. In 1973, we had our second Constitution. Again, we failed to include the Trial by Jury in our judiciary. 3. In 1987, the Pilipino people ratified our 3rd Constitution. The provision for the Trial by jury is still missing. 4. Changes were tried in the Executive and Legislative Departments. We had President and Prime Minister from 1972- 1986 and back to President only in 1987. Our Congress shifted from bicameral to unicameral and back to bicameral. For 76 long years (1935 to date), our Judiciary remains the same. We still have one man judge who hears and decides a case in the court of law. We need a strong and independent Judiciary through the people’s active and direct participation in the Jury System. A group of 12 Jurors is better than a one-man judge for it is easy to bribe, intimidate, influence, compromise one person who gives the verdict. It is against the law of nature and probability to corrupt 12 different individuals. The Juror’s Verdict is a People’s Verdict. What is missed rather what they missed, we will insist. Legal Arguments 1. We, the Filipinos as the sovereign people, can enact laws and even repel existing laws passed by Congress and can even amend our Constitution. Our Constitution says: Article 6, Section 1 “The Legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent RESERVED to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum.” Article 6, Section 32 “The Congress shall, as early as possible, provide a system of INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM, and the exception there from, whereby the PEOPLE CAN DIRECTLY PROPOSE AND ENACT LAWS OR APPROVE OR REJECT ANY ACT OR LAW OR PART THEREOF PASSED BY CONGRESS OR LOCAL LEGISLATIVE BODY……..” 2. Republic Act 6735(A Republic Act providing for a system of Initiative and Referendum) says: Section 2. Statement of Policy “The POWER OF THE PEOPLE under a system of initiative and referendum to directly propose, enact, approve or reject, in whole or in part, the Constitution, laws, ordinances, or resolutions passed by any legislative body upon compliance with the requirements of this Act is hereby AFFIRMED, RECOGNIZED AND GUARANTEED.” Other Legal Arguments 3.1 Article 2, Section 1 (Phil. Constitution) “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.” 3.2 Article 2, Section 5 “The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the BLESSING OF DEMOCRACY.” 3.3 Article 2, Section 27 “The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take POSITIVE AND EFFECTIVE MEASURES AGAINST GRAFT AND CORRUPTION.” Political Arguments 1. Democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. 2. Initiative Act is a democratic process and the reserved rights of the people to decide on vital issues thru legislation. The Constitution that mandates the Congress to legislate laws is the same Constitution that gives the RIGHTS and the POWER of the people to enact and amend laws. 3. A Jury system is an integral part of democracy. The Philippines to be truly democratic must adapt a Trial by Jury. 4. The Constitution mandates the State/Government to encourage non-governmental, community-based or sectoral organizations that promote the welfare of the nation. 5. The Constitution says: “The State shall promote a JUST and DYNAMIC social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life.” 6. The sovereign authority of the Filipino people must not be limited in the exercise of the rights of suffrage (the right to vote). It is also the people’s rights and responsibility to oversee the legitimacy of the administration of justice. 7. In 1972, Barangay was created as the smallest political unit. One of the primary responsibilities and obligations of Barangay is to settle disputes among its constituents thru the Lupon ng Barangay (Community Grievance Committee). A group of local residents sits in this Lupon to study, deliberate and settle the conflict amicably. For at least 30 years to date, ordinary Filipinos have been exposed to experiences handling disputes or conflict. Moral Arguments 1. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute, speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Prov. 31:8) 2. “To show partiality in judging is not good. Whoever says to the guilty, “you are innocent”, - People will curse him and nations denounce him. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come upon them.” (Prov. 24:23-25) Economic Arguments 1. The benefits of the Trial by Jury outweigh the cost. 2. The total cost of corruption not to mention the costs incurred on maladministration and foreign debts, on lives of victims of injustices dwarfed the cost of keeping and maintaining an effective administration of justice thru the Trial by Jury. 3. The States allocates budget for education, health, rural development, military, peace and order and other services. It is imperative for the Government to allocate budget for the improvement of the judiciary. 4. The Philippines is considered globally as a corrupt country. Corruption drives away foreign investors. Other established arguments for the creation of a Jury System 1. “A jury brings to bear on its decision a wide diversity of experience of life which represents the accumulated experience of human affairs and the collective ability to make judgments of its individual members.” 2. “Since there are twelve people, it is likely that the individual standards and values held by the jury will be representative of the general community. This number of people should mean that particular prejudices are negated by the existence of different or alternative views within the jury as a group.” 3. “Because the jury deliberates as a group, it has the advantage of collective perception, recollection and analysis. This process is more likely to be an effective way of determining contested facts and issues because each detail is explored and subjected to scrutiny by the group rather than by individuals.” 4. “The Jury, unlike a judge who is bound to apply the law in a strict and technical way, is able to base its verdict on the broad equities in the case and is able to bring the conscience of the community to bear upon the merits of the case.” 5. “The use of jury of citizens drawn from the community keeps the justice system in step with the standards of ordinary people and ensures that the support of the people to the criminal justice system and the state is maintained.” 6. “The jury system is a bastion against oppressive conduct by the State either in the making of the laws or in their application and enforcement. By its existence as an institution with a decisive role to play, the jury assumes a degree of responsibility for the integrity and fairness of the judiciary.” 7. “The participation of ordinary people in the trial of the case validates the administration of justice and incorporates the democratic values into the system.” Other sources of related information: Foreign Debts (Source: The Correspondents, The Filipino Channel) Poverty Line(World Bank) UNHRC Amnesty International Lawlink: Law Reform Commission, NSW This primer was prepared and being distributed by the Philippine Jury Campaign Int’l, London, England.